archiv of the category house


an interview with Malena Perez

Be prepared for something big when Malena Perez debut album Stars will be released next month. It’s a fantastic musically varied album and Malena is a real sweet person who flew to California to make some new photos specially for jazz-not-jazz…ha ha, not really but she provided me with some new photos. And look for the new 12″ single Praise The Day coming this month. It will feature the original version Malena did with Osunlade, as well as a dub remix version that Osunlade did himself.
In her jazz-not-jazz interview Malena talks about her musical background, how she met the musicians involved on Stars, her own label Cubanita Groove Records and much more.

Q: Please tell me something about yourself. We are you coming from musically? Who has influenced you?

Malena Pérez: Wow. I guess I would have to say that I’ve been inspired by Life itself! My mother and father both surrounded me with music growing up. And on a personal level, I’ve been through some really difficult experiences that have found peace and a welcome place in my songs. There is nothing like the different facets of the human experience to inspire poetry or lyrics! Over the past several years I’ve been listening to Amel Larrieux’s solo albums, Fertile Ground (fronted by Navasha Daya, who I have so much respect for!), Jill Scott, Minnie Riperton, Eva Cassidy, Everything But the Girl, Flora Purim (who I actually got to meet at Temple Bar in Sta. Monica last fall - such a surreal experience!), and deep house music like the Naked Music albums (i.e., Blue Six/Beautiful Tomorrow). I also love Kyoto Jazz Massive. I’ve always been inspired by Latin women who have set the standard for quality vocals and really know how to express emotion through their art - Gloria Estefan’s Mi Tierra album is amazing!…Celia Cruz, Omara Portuondo, Cesaria Evora, Astrud Gilberto, Susana Baca…these women have been and will continue to inspire me musically. I also have significant choral training in liturgical music, which is why those (I’ve been told “angelic” - and perhaps prayerful) qualities of my voice are sometimes really evident. I really just never feel more free than when I am singing, and I feel that I am continually given messages of love and healing to share with others!

Q: You sing in English and Spanish. I wonder if you also speak German. After all your mother is German. Did your parents raised you speaking three languages? And how important were your parents for your decision to pursue a career as musican?

Malena Pérez: I was raised speaking English and Spanish, both of which I am fluent in. When I was little, my Cuban grandmother - my “Abuela Elsa” - kept me during the weekdays when my parents were at work, and she spoke to me only in Spanish. And I can speak some Mandarin Chinese - but not German! My parents never pushed me toward one career or another, though I have to say that my mother has been extremely supportive of my decision to pursue my passion and calling to share these gifts. I think she always “knew” that I would end up on a creative path. And my father is an avid lover of music, so I guess I get that from him! I definitely have my mother’s entrepreneurial spirit and couldn’t be happier pursuing what I love to do and helping others in the process.



Malena Pérez Stars

This delightful album arrived just at the right time. With Nothern Germany skipping spring in 2006 and heading straight for pre-summer madness Malena Pérez’s debut album Stars offers the perfect soundtrack. This album has summer written all over it.
Only a few days ago I reviewed the Kenny Dope remix of Chase The Butterflies and while this version is a great latin house song, featured on Stars as a bonus track by the way, it only represents a small section of what Malena Pérez has to offer musically. In fact, now that I know the original album version I’d say this is the better version!
Malena Perez first single, the Michael Johnson produced Free To Fly, is also featured on Stars, and it’s a deep no-nonsense house inspired song with Malena singing in Spanish and English. The midtempo offbeat soul of Surrender shows that Malena feels at home in different music genres. Tomorrow is another highlight, this gently flowing latin breeze will certainly appeal to those who loved the second disc of Bah Samba’s double album 4.
Cubanita Groove is one of the best name-dropping grooves I have ever heard. Here we have Malena mentioning all her heros like Flora Purim, Sade, Minnie Riperton, Maya Angelou, Amel Larrieux, Tracey Thorn or Mercedes Sosa.
The next single, Praise The Day, is Malena’s collaboration with Osunlade. The result is an inspiring, percussion driven deep house affair that makes me wish Malena Perez and Osunlade would work together more often. Confesión is another house winner, this time Malena joined Alix Alvarez in the studio. Monet on flute gives this song that special something. The album’s title track, Stars, is a welcome ballad with just Malena and sparse keys. Another highlight comes with What Do I Do, a modern soul song on which Malena reminds me a lot of Julie Dexter on her Dexterity album. And that’s not because Julie had a song called What Do I Do on this album as well. Malena’s own What Do I Do sounds more like a mixture of Julie’s Moving On meets a slower version of Ketch A Vibe.
Gracias A La Vida is - like Stars - an unornamented song with just Malena’s voice and one instrument. Here it’s a stringed instrument, which gives the song an artistic feeling and actually that’s the one song on Stars I needed a few listenings to really get into it. The hidden track, How Can I Keep From Singing, is a heartfelt a cappella with a nice gospel feeling.
In a nutshell Stars is a great debut album by Malena Pérez full of superduper deep house latin soul and then some and it’s THE summer album of 2006.

Tracklisting of Malena Pérez Stars: 1. Oriente/ 2. Free To Fly/ 3. Chase The Butterflies/ 4. Surrender/ 5. Tomorrow/ 6. Cubanita Groove/ 7. Praise The Day/ 8. Confesion/ 9. Stars/ 10. What Do I Do/ 11. Nshala/ 12. Gracias A La Vida/ 13. Chase The Butterflies (Kenny Dope Remix)/14. How Can I Keep From Singing (hidden track) | released July 11th, 2006 by Cubanita Groove Records

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[If you want to discuss Malena Pérez’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


Yam Who featuring Noel McKoy Summertime

Ah, Noel McKoy one of the unsung heros of UK soul. In my opinion he’s one of the voices of British soul music who really should get wider recognition. He has released one album with his family as McKoy (Full Cirlce) and two solo albums (Mind Is The Keeper and Please Take This Personal), recorded with the James Taylor Quartet and appeared on numerous songs as session singer, he even recorded a song with Elisha La’Verne (I Remember Summer). The good news is that he’s finally back with a new song (this one reviewed here) and a new album called Cut From The Same Cloth that’s due for a release in June 2006.
Yam Who?, who are more famous for their remix works for the likes of N’Dambi, Alison Crockett, Amp Fiddler or Incognito, finally make their Papa Records debut with a cover of Summertime, originally recorded by A High Frequency in 1980 and released on Nia Records.
This new version is an uplifting feel good house song with inspiring organ, piano and strings solos. Well, just what one needs when the temperature’s rising. With only a Main Mix and an Instrumental Mix available here this is just like in the good ol’ days when you didn’t suffer from a remix overkill.
So don’t look any further for the summer anthem of 2006. Yam Who? and Papa Record have released it already.

Tracklisting of Summertime: 1. Main Mix/ 2. Instrumental Mix | released 2006 by Papa Records

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Malena Perez Chase The Butterflies (Kenny Dope Remixes)

Free To Fly, the first single by Malena Pérez, released by Divine Recordings, written and recorded with Atlanta producer Michael Johnson and remixed by JustOne (KemeticJust) somehow created a little buzz in the house music scene in 2004. Malena, born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Cuban father and German mother, has been busy establishing her own label Cubanita Records and working on her debut album Stars (to be released in June 2006) since then. As an appetizer Giant Step releases the first single, Chase The Butterflies. They spared neither costs nor efforts and engaged Kenny Dope to remix the song. The Kenny Dope Remix is the best mix here, it’s a deep soulful house mix something like Everything But The Girl meeting Naked Music in a Latin club with just the right amount of uptempo vibe to make it a dancefloor filler. The K-Dope Rubber Dub gives the song a harder edge with some electro effects. The Beats and Instrumental are nice to play around for the DJs but discerning listeners should head straight to the first remix for maximum pleasure.
According to Malena’s myspace site the next single release will be Praise The Day, her collaboration with Osunlade.

Tracklisting of Chase The Butterflies: 1. Kenny Dope Remix/ 2. Kenny Dope Beats/ 3. K-Dope Rubber Dub/ 4. K-Dope Rubber Inst. | released 2006 by Cubanita Groove Records/Giant Step

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Osunlade Aquarian Moon

Deep House Don Osunlade surely needs no introduction to most readers of jazz-not-jazz. Although there has been quite a few house producers/DJs/remixer who released full length albums, the main oeuvre can still be found on various 12″es. And if you have a look at Osunlade’s discography on his Yoruba Records site or on the discogs site you’ll see that this is still true. After his Paradigm release on Soul Jazz Records in 2001 his new album released by BBE Records in Europe is only his second album (if you don’t count the best of album Yoruba Records: El Primer Ano).
Quite a few things have changed since Paradigm , musically and in Osunlade’s life. He now lives on the Greek island of Santorini and Aquarian Moon pays homage to its rich culture. Musically this is a little bit different from his previous stuff. Albeit not too different, the trained listener will still recognize it’s Osunlade. Listening to this album sometimes reminded me of Larry Heard records like Sceneries Not Songs.
While there are still songs with a great dancefloor potential like the first single SokinSikartep (btw here’s a video of this song…although you might need quicktime to view it…or just use vlc) or the percussive ridden deep house title track Aquarian Moon, the overall concept of this album is creating a tapestry of richly orchestrated instrumentals and at its best spiritual moving soundscapes that take you on a musical journey. The Day We Met For Coffee with its lush strings is a good example.
On TwoPhish Osunlade digs into Down To The Bone territory with a damn funky uptempo groove. Fingerblood is an interesting downtempo track with piano sprinkles and cow bells!
One of my favourite cuts on this album is Circles, a fine late night electro jazz song. Other highlights includes the uplifitng groove of Casablanca Soul with its horn solo and the deep In Flight with lots of percussion.
Aquarian Moon shows a stimulating development of Osunlade as a musician who eventually have reached a state of being musically without boundaries or as he puts it “[Aquarian Moon] is not a house album, it is music, all styles are in there: jazz, funk, etc.

Tracklisting of Aquarian Moon: 1. Thira/ 2. Aquarian Moon/ 3. The Day We Met For Coffee/ 4. Flow/ 5. TwoFish/ 6. Fingerblood/ 7. Circles/ 8. Oia In Winter/ 9. SokinSikartep/ 10. Casablanca Soul/ 11. Music For The Gods/ 12. Inspiriation/ 13. In Flight (Hidden Track)| released May, 26th 2006 by Yoruba Records/BBE

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[If you want to discuss Osunlade’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


Kyoto Jazz Massive 10th Anniversary

Shuya Okino and Yoshihiro Okino aka Kyoto Jazz Massive may have the longest anniversary in history. In 2004 Shuya released FOR KJM, RE KJM and BY KJM on his own Quality Records imprint in Japan. FOR KJM was reviewed almost one year ago on jazz-not-jazz. So another 10th anniversary album may be a little bit late but that’s really nitpicking. It’s the music that counts. And this double album, which will soon be released by the German Compost Records label, features more than enough to keep any discerning fan of quality house, dance and even jazz music happy and grooving.
Most of the tracks from the FOR KJM album appear here as well so if you’ve missed it because it was only available as an obscure and expensive Japanese copy then here’s your chance to finally get the tunes I raved about last year. Don’t worry they still sound fresh and great like Da Lata’s latinesque Ronco Da Cuica, Reel People’s epic Tomorrow Never Comes with Vanessa Freeman at her best, Restless Soul’s delightful Time To Fly, Louie Vega’s classic latin instrumental jazz song Aphrodite or Kyoto Jazz Massive’s own Endless Flight.
Even if you have a copy of FOR KJM (or BY KJM or RE KJM which also feature some songs that appear on this double CD) you want this compilation because it features songs that have been previously available on sometimes hard-to-find 12″es only. There’s the inspiring Quantic remix of KJM’s The Brightness Of These Days (again with vocals by the ubiquitous Vanessa Freeman), the soulful and deep Blaze remix of KJM’s Mind Expansions with vocals by Maiya James or Kenny Dope’s remix of KJM’s Shine with Chris Franck and Guida De Palma on vocals.
One of the many highlights is A Calamaria by Japan’s best female jazz singer Monday Michiru. The epic Sailing Into The Unknown Version with its nine and a half minutes is an enchanting and deep track that starts (and ends) on the cill-out side with waves, piano and Monday’s talking to turn into a great jazz-house song with additional scatting by Monday.
Sleep Walker’s Eclipse is a fast instrumental jazz song with a driving saxophone by Masato Nakamura and an uplifting piano solo by Hajime Yoshizawa.
Behind The Shadow adds a welcome spirituality to this compilation. The song reminds me a lot of songs Alice Coltrane recorded in the late 60s/early 70s. Here we have Earl Zinger (pianica), Ski Oakenfull (piano), Simon Richmond (theremin, percussion) and Pentagon (programming and mix) under the production guidance of Toshio Matsuura (of United Future Organization fame) creating a song that’s already one of my most valuable finds this year. Stunning!
Although this 10th Anniversary compilation combines the best tracks of the previous Japan only released FOR, BY and RE KJM with some additional songs, the result is nevertheless an inspiring and coherent journey into the music of the Kyoto Jazz Massive and like-minded artists. You will hardly find a compilation this year that is musically as diverse as this one.

Tracklisting of 10th Anniversary:
01. Kyoto Jazz Massive - “The Brightness Of These Days” - Quantic RMX/ 02. Incognito - “Where Love Shines” - Kyoto Jazz Massive RMX/ 03. Kyoto Jazz Massive - “Endless Flight”/ 04. Restless Soul feat. Rasiyah - “Time To Fly”/ 05. Kyoto Jazz Massive - “Mind Expansions” - Blaze Shelter Sundae Mix/ 06. Kyoto Jazz Massive feat. Chris Franck & Guida De Palma - “Shine” - Kenny Dope RMX/ 07. Domu - “Taking Flight”/ 08. Afronaught feat. Alison David - “Now Or Never”/ 09. Dego & Kaidi Tatham - “Come With Me”/ 10. Reel People feat. Vanessa Freeman - “Tomorrow Never Comes”

01. Da Lata - “Ronco Da Cuica”/ 02. Jazztronik - “Shine”/ 03. Louie Vega & The EOL Band - “Aphrodite”/ 04. Monday Michiru - “A Calamaria” - Sailing Into The Unknown Version/ 05. DJ Mitsu The Beats - “Spireedom 2004″/ 06. Sleep Walker - “Eclipse”/ 07. Toshio Matsuura Group - “Behind The Shadow”/ 08. Electric Sheep feat. UA - “The Brightness Of These Days”/ 09. Aurora - “Nacel Do Sol”
released May, 8th 2006 by Compost Records

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DJ Spinna feat. Heavy We Can Change This World

Vincent “DJ Spinna” Williams surely needs no introduction to the discerning listener. I’m sure you’ve listened to one of his songs or remixes over the past years. Whether it’s his version of Shaun Escoffery’s Days Like This, Mark De Clive-Lowe’s Day By Day, Fertile Ground’s Live In The Light, Cooly’s Hot Box Make Me Happy or Donnie’s Cloud 9, DJ Spinna is one of the rare musicians/remixer who can play convincingly in the house, soul and hip hop arena.
For his new single We Can Change This World he has teamed up with the NY duo Nicky Guiland and Casey Benjamin aka Heavy. DJ Spinna’s own Club Mix is a massively flowing modern soul/broken beats/house hybrid. Osunlade takes us on a deeper musical excursion with his Yoruba Soul Mix which makes this an instant winner for any deep house dancefloor in the weeks to come.
We Can Change This World is a fine piece of 21st century soul. And I just love the title…it’s all about being united to reach a critical mass and to have an impact on society.
Hopefully, DJ Spinna’s Intergalactic Soul album, that’s scheduled for a early summer release on Papa Records, will contain more songs of this calibre.

Tracklisting of We Can Change This World: A1. We Can Change This World (Club Mix)/ A2. We Can Change This World (Club Instrumental Mix)/ AA1. We Can Change This World (Yoruba Soul Mix)/ AA2. We Can Change This World (Yoruba Soul Instrumental Mix) | released 2006 by Papa Records

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Faze Action Presents Orto featuring Vanessa Freeman Waiting Is Over

The title says it all! The waiting is over and here’s finally a new song that features the voice of the UK’s new soul/broken beat/house scene Vanessa Freeman. Readers of jazz-not-jazz may recall her album Shades on Chillifunk (and hopefully own a copy) and her numerous appearances as vocalist for the likes of Nathan Haines or Reel People (who by the way will soon re-release their album Second Guess).
Faze Action (brothers Simon and Robin Lee) have released three albums so far (Plans And Designs, Moving Cities [both on the Nuphonic label], Broad Souls [on Bar De Lune Records]) and have experimented with different music styles from disco to new wave funk to afro house to electronic. With this release they’ve picked the new name Orto. So why the change of name when Faze Action is a name many already know and recognize? “When we started Faze Action it was based around our love of the whole New York Disco & Funk scene, which we coupled with our influences from growing up in and around the London club scene. With Orto we feel it’s the same set of influences but this time it’s roots are much more from the London side, with a heavier dose of the soulful, broken, jazzy sounds that are making the London scene so inspiring right now“.
Aha, one might argue if this justifies the change of name. Nevertheless, Waiting Is Over is a fine piece of dance music blending broken beats with disco strings and a funky bass to be graced by the soulful voice of Vanessa Freeman who - like always - delivers a stunning performance. The 83 West Remix aims straight to discerning house dancefloors with its 4/4 beats. Another winner 12″ release from Papa Records.

Tracklisting of Waiting Is Over: 1. (Original Mix)/ 2. (Instrumental Mix)/ 3. (83 West Remix)/ 4. (83 West Instrumental Remix) | released February 27th Papa Records

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Chillifunk - The Best Of Ten Years 1996 - 2006

Man, does this album bring back memories. But first of all Happy Birthday to Lofty and Bob Jones for celebrating the 10th anniversary of Chillifunk Records and thanks for all the good music they have brought us in these ten years. In these times, when it’s all about hit and miss and milking the latest trend to death to squeeze the most money out of it, ten years is per se a real achivement for a small independent label. And it’s even more of an achivement when it’s a label like Chillifunk who really cares about the music it releases and the artists it signs. With all the numerous Chillifunk releases reviewed here, you may call me a little bit biased. But regarding the quality music I can live with this prejudice.
With over 75 single and 20 album releases one can argue what should appear on a best of because everyone has his or her personal favourites but these 22 full length cuts selected by label owners Lofty and Bob Jones hardly can do no wrong with lovers of soulful house music. Here we have the voice of the UK’s soulful underground Vanessa Freeman on The Way and Wonderful Thing along Marlena Shaw (Squire For Hire), Ultra Naté (Feel Love), Jody Watley (Photographs), Terry Callier (Tomorrow In Your Eyes), Snowboy (Carga Tu Bateria) or Verna Francis (Sunshine, Earth Is The Place). And we have remixes by Kenny Dope (Believe), Dennis Ferrer (After Ours), Phil Asher/Restless Soul (Amarante), Ashley Beedle (Doot Dude), Blaze (Feel Love) or DJ Gregory & Julian Jabre (Earth Is The Place) amongst others…I know, pure namedropping and a great history lesson of dance and house music. Fans of Chillifunk will need this album for the tracks they’ve missed (or for the new Marathon Men song Blessings) and who haven’t heard of Chillifunk yet will need this as an introduction anyway.
There’s also a mixed CD by Notenshun (Lofty and Werner Niedermeier who recently brought us baR suSu 2) with even more songs from Chillifunk’s impressive back catalogue and a new Notenshun tune with Ann Saunderson (Move A Little Closer).
There will hardly be a better dance music compilation in 2006. Here’s to Chillifunk and another ten years of great house music!

Tracklisting of Chillifunk - The Best Of Ten Years 1996 - 2006:
CD 1 Unmixed:
1. DSL-Enfusion (Chilli Club Mix)/ 2. Nathan Haines featuring Shelley Nelson - Believe (Kenny Dope Remix)/ 3. restless soul featuring Nathan Haines - After Ours (Ibadan Sfere Dub)/ 4. Eastwest Connection - Love Music (Original Mix)/ 5. T.Kolai - Zouk (Phil Asher’s Moontime Mix)/ 6. Nathan Haines featuring Lyric L - Doot Dude (Ashley Beedle Remix)/ 7. Eastwest Connection - The More I Get (Teddy¹s House Groove)/ 8. Vanessa Freeman - The Way (Original Mix)/ 9. Marathon Men featuring Alex the Kid - Blessings/ 10. Nathan Haines featuring Marlena Shaw - Squire For Hire (Original Mix)/ 11. Notenshun featuring Sandy Mill - Soul Music (Danism Remix)/ 12. DJ Deep - Inner Peace
CD 2 Unmixed:
1. Ultra Nate - Feel Love (Blaze Shrine Vocal Remix)/ 2. Jody Watley - Photographs (Eastwest Connection Remix)/ 3. Nathan Haines - Earth Is The Place (DJ Gregory & Julian Jabre Remix)/ 4. Eastwest Connection featuring Terry Callier - Tomorrow In Your Eyes (Original Mix)/ 5. Snowboy and The Latin Section - Carga Tu Bateria/ 6. Nathan Haines - Right By Your Side (Aquarius Mix)/ 7. Notenshun - Amarante (Phil Asher´s restless soul Remix)/ 8. Soul Camp - Que Calor/ 9. Verna Francis - Sunshine (Original Vocal Mix)/ 10. Nathan Haines featuring Vanessa Freeman - Wonderful Thing/ 11. The Interns - Soul Food (Surgery Main Mix)
Bonus Mix CD : Mixed by Notenshun
1. Eastwest Connection featuring Daniel Vacchio - High On Life (Main Mix)/ 2. Eastwest Connection - The More I Get (Teddy’s House Groove)/ 3. Notenshun featuring Sandy Mill - Soul Music (Danism Remix)/ 4. Nathan Haines - Earth Is The Place (DJ Gregory & Julian Jabre Remix)/ 5. DSL - Soothe Your Soul (Original Club Mix)/ 6. Eastwest Connection - Love Music (House Mix)/ 7. Nathan Haines - Believe (Kenny Dope Main Cutz Remix)/ 8. Nathan Haines - Right By Your Side (restless soul Peaktime Mix)/ 9. Notenshun featuring Ann Saunderson - Move A Little Closer/ 10. restless soul featuring Nathan Haines - After Hours (Ibadan Sfere Dub)/ 11. Notenshun - Amarante (Phil Asher´s restless soul Remix)/ 12. Nathan Haines featuring Marlena Shaw - Squire For Hire (Capricorn Mix)/ 13. T.Kolai - Une Affaire (Aaron Ross´s restless soul Remix)
released on February 6th Chillifunk Records

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baR suSU Volume 2

Notenshun are Lofty and Werner Niedermeier and no strangers to this pages. You may remember their remixes for Ultra Naté’s Feel Love or their own Soul Music and Unfinished Business. The latter two are also featured on this nice collection of soulful and jazzy house cuts. As the tracklisting shows Notenshun don’t rely on the latest, hippest records but on an inspiring blend of almost classic cuts like Jody Watley’s Photographs or Kim English’s C’est La Vie and soon to be released cuts like Notenshun’s own Lyrical Flight or their rework of Nathan Haines’s U See That (the original appeared on the Chilli Funk release Squire For Hire). If you’re into vocal house then this is the first compilation of 2006 you should get. Here you get the powerful voices of Tommy Blaize (Takin U Back) and Diamond Temple (I Never Knew, by the way with backing vocals by veteran soul group Ray, Goodman and Brown) together with Paul Randolph (This Means That). Unfortunately not included on the promo copy I’ve got is the second CD with ten mouth-watering and exclusive songs. So I can’t say anything about Phil Asher’s remix of Roy Ayer’s Brand New Feeling or Notenshun’s Fuel In The Fire (again with Sandy Mill who seems to become Notenshun’s in-house singer) except that I wanna have them! *grin*

Tracklisting of baR suSU Volume 2 - Mixed CD (mixed by Notenshun):
1. That Feeling - MR A.L.I. featuring Carla Prather/ 2. Takin U Back - James Ratcliff presents Urban Groove Ft Tommy Blaize/ 3. Lyrical Flight - Notenshun featuring Sandy Mill/ 4. Photographs (East West Connection Remix) - Jody Watley/ 5. C’est La Vie (Jon Cutler Distant Music Remix) - Kim English/ 6. Unfinished Business (Remix) - Notenshun/ 7. This Means That (Bobby and Steve and Urban Groove Full Vox Remix)-Kevin Saunderson presents The Reese Project feat. Paul Randolph/ 8. Sentido Litoral - The Anderson Soares Project/ 9. Take Me Now (Bah Samba Remix) - Awakening/ 10. U See That (Notenshun Rework) - Nathan Haines/ 11. Amarante (Phil Asher Restless Soul Remix) - Notenshun/ 12. I Never Knew - 280 West Featuring Diamond Temple/ 13. Soul Music (Danism Remix) - Notenshun featuring Sandy Mill.
Bonus unmixed CD:
1. Brand New Feeling(Phil Asher Restless Soul Remix) - Roy Ayers/ 2. That Feeling - Mr A.L.I featuring Carla Prather/ 3. Takin’ U Back - James Ratcliff presents Urban Groove Presents Tommy Blaize/ 4. Fuel In The Fire - Notenshun featuring Sandy Mill/ 5. C’est La Vie (Jon Cutler Distant Music Remix) - Kim English/ 6. Sentido Litoral - The Anderson Soares Project/ 7. Natural - Notenshun featuring Izumi/ 8. Take Me Now (Bah Samba Remix) - Awakening/ 9. Hiya Luv (Phil Hooton Remix) - Kenny Bobien/ 10.Soul Underground (Fly With Me) - The Interns VS DJ OJI and Una | released on February 20th, 2006 suSu

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Cafe Soul All-Stars Urban Jungle (Blaze Mixes)

The Duke Jones, Norman Connors and Samir Hall penned Urban Jungle instrumental from the Cafe Soul All-Stars album Love Pages gets transformed by Blaze and Ian Friday into yet another dancefloor winner. Ian Friday’s Tea Party Vocal mix adds a more driving beat to the mix to beef things up with Alyson Williams and Stephanie McKay’s background vocals telling us to dance the samba and groove your body to the conga. Oh and there’s the energydriven sax solo by Kenny Garrett that makes this cut so worthwhile. The Roots Instrumental is a nice tool to play around without the background vocals. And if you haven’t got a copy of the Love Pages album you can also enjoy the original mix with Roy Ayers vibes solo. Call it soul-jazz-fusion house or whatever but make sure to get the remixes!

Tracklisting of Urban Jungle: 1. Ian Friday Tea Party Vocal/ 2. Roots Instrumental/ 3. Original Version | to be released 2006 Giant Step/You Entertainment

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The Fatback Band feat. Bah Samba Spanish Hustle

The recently released Bah Samba single Let The Drums Speak featured the Fatback Band and now Bah Samba gladly return the favour and are not only the featured band alongside the Fatback Band but they also remixed the re-introduction of the famous Spanish Hustle.
The Fatback Band recently performed in the UK at Glastonbury, Womad and Big Chill festivals and inbetween the gigs they found the time to go into the studio with Bah Samba. And one of the results is this fine remake that fulfils Bill Curtis’ statement on his websitenot to sound like the old Fatback“.
As you would expect from Julian Bendall and the guys from Bah Samba they deliver some fine Latin house corkers perfect for the dancefloor and to warm us in January when this record will be released. The Latin house inspired America Latina Mix gives you enough percussion, horns and the sing-a-long chorus do the Spanish Hustle to put a smile on your face while you move your hips. The aptly titled Organic Mix with its acoustic guitar overdubs is the mix that actually features some ad libs from Fatback Band members Bill Curtis and Johnny Flippen. The Southport Weekender Mix delves more into four-to-the-floor house territory with less vocals and horns making this something like an instrumental dub version.
Fans of the classic Fatback Band’s sound may be a little bit disappointed because this version of Spanish Hustle sounds quite different from the original. But who wants to have a one-to-one remake anyway? So, rather enjoy the first-class job Bah Samba has done with these remixes!

Tracklisting of Spanish Hustle: 1. Bah Samba’s America Latina Mix/ 2. Bah Samba’s Organic Mix/ 3. Bah Samba’s Southport Weekender Mix | to be released January 9th, 2006 BKO Productions

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reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer from here are his reviews of twelve house compilations (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

Danny Rampling: Break 4 Love (ITH/Defected)

First up from the hugely successful London stable is the influential Danny Rampling’s final compilation, released before he swaps his pair of turntables for china plates and vinyl for culinary delights. The man responsible for satisfying many a soul on the dancefloor and via the airwaves over the years, now hopes to fill bellies instead of ears, via his new venture as a restaurateur. This brilliant triple CD set spans the whole of his career, from his early House days at Shoom and blissed out Balearic moments, to the Disco influenced House sound that found favour on his radio show and at clubs in the 90s. CD 1 is an ace collection of time-honoured House cuts, which features the Nightwriter’s mesmerising key addled “Let The Music Use You”, Raze’s reassuring “Break For Love” and finishes with a flamboyant Disco flourish in the shape of Dan Hartman’s “Relight My Fire”. The second disc contains a few emotionless House bangers, but they do feature alongside wonderful tracks such as Gat Décor’s empathetic “Passion”, the magical key and jarring drum driven “It’s Alright I Feel It” from Nu Yorican Soul and Frankie Knuckles’ gorgeous “Whistle Song”. The final CD looks towards that white island and more horizontal partying days. It includes beautiful gems like the emotive stringed “Smokebelch” from Sabres Of Paradise, Chris Rea’s staid guitar driven “Josephine” and Keytronic Ensemble’s invigoratingly keyed “Calypso Of House”. What a way to call it a day…

Most Rated 2005 (ITH/Defected)

“Most Rated 2005″ sticks some of the finest underground and crossover House moments of 2005 on a two disc set, where the tracks were chosen by visitors to Defected’s website. It looks like they’ve made some good choices as well, with the first CD boasting a number of electro-tinged and deep thinking numbers alongside fat floor filling tackle. Highlights of this disc include Joey Negro’s own empowering guitar-addled overhaul of The Sunburst Band’s adoring “He Is” and M.A.N.D.Y. Vs Booka Shade’s powerful bassline driven “Body Language”. Poppier vocal numbers pepper the weaker disc two, but choice cuts such as the over-arching string kissed “Lets Be Young” from Quentin Harris and Jerome Sydenham & Mikael Nordgren’s lively “Stockholm Go Bang” make an appearance. This is the strongest collection in the “Most Rated” series to date.

Wax Wars (Defected)

Another hot release from the Defected stable is “Wax Wars”, where various label bosses get the chance to showcase their catalogues and DJ skills. This instalment sees Defected’s own Simon Dunmore battle it out with Brian Tappert of Soulfuric and Jamie Lewis of Purple Music, with each of them getting the chance to show their worth on one disc a piece. Full throttle House pours from the Defected disc, where great tracks like Johnny Corporate’s swinging sax touched “Sunday Shoutin”, KOT’s hearteningly keyed “Changes”, and Julien Jabre’s gleeful “Swimming Places” feature. Tappert brings us tuff, soulful and jazzy flavours, with tracks of note including “He Is The Galaxy”, where Donna Allen’s vocals are spliced over a sax sprayed Galaxy People backing, and Jask’s joyfully stringed overhaul of Connie Harvey’s “Thank You Lord”. Dunmore and Tappert have the battle tied due to the strength of certain tracks on their CDs, whilst Jamie Lewis’ disappointing vocal House disc means that he has certainly lost the fight.

Connected: Jay J (ITH/Defected/Shifted Music)

Jay J’s “Connected” compilation lays down a large number of own productions and retoolings alongside tracks from other artists. Ever productive in the studio, this collection lifts the lid on J’s deeper yet soul-minded House sound. The first CD features his and Chris Lum’s outstanding overhaul of Jill Scott’s “He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)”, where absorbing strings and sweet keys fly over pick-me-up beats. The premier disc is made up nearly exclusively of Jay J’s own productions and remixes, and another cut of note on this CD is the shining “Make My Heart”, produced with Halo Varga, and remixed by Miguel Migs. The second CD contains a number of filtered gems, and contains tracks like Kiko Navarro’s heightening keyed relick of the Mojo Project’s “Tell Me Why” and the flying sax propelling “Road To Freedom” from Fudge. This comp gives a great insight into the work of a lesser-known figure in House.

OM:10 – A Decade Of Future Music
El Divino: House Of Sol
El Divino: Chilled
House Of Om: Groove Junkies (all Om Records)

San Fran’s acclaimed Om keep up the pressure with another clutch of various artist led CDs. The finest is undoubtedly a triple set entitled “Om:10 – A Decade Of Future Music”, which features an outstanding ‘classics’ disc. Empowering House and ever so relaxed downbeat surface on this disc, which features Mark Farina’s hallucinatory “Dream Machine” and Andy Caldwell’s impatient “I Can’t Wait”. The ‘downtempo’ disc also features a few recent gems, such as Jake Childs’ sleepily drummed and bass losing “Forgotten”, and Seafoam’s sodden “Magnus Buchan”. Unfortunately, the tracks on the recent House CD aren’t quite of the same calibre as those uptempo offerings on the classics disc.

The El Divino collections celebrate Om’s summer residency at the Ibizan club, and both selections, ‘House’ and ‘Chilled’ (which are sold separately), contain awesome cuts that sit alongside blander musical pieces. Hot stuff on the up jumpin’ House CD include Johnny Fiasco’s summer synthed “Take 5″ and the gymnastically keyed “Come On” from Miguel Migs. Solu Music’s thoughtfully synthilated “Marcello” and J Boogie’s gusty fluted “Golden Nectar” provide the highs on the sideways beaten sleepy CD. Taking the tempo up a notch, Groove Junkies ‘House Of Om’ double set is a hail of soul-smooched and frothily filtered House. SUMO’s afro-guitar overhaul of Blaze’s “My Beat” makes an appearance on disc 1, whilst mad dancing brass and sticking organ keys colour Pepe Link’s “Kalakuta” on the second CD. Whilst there are some choice musical moments on all these compilations, those with a tight budget should opt for “Om:10″.

Wicked Weekend (Slip’n'Slide)
Klubb House 2 (Slip’n'Slide)
Electro House (Kickin’ Music)
Rhythm Code Present Moov House (Kickin’ Music)

The Slip’n'Slide/Kickin family are still banging out compilations at a quite a pace, and here they unleash a quadruplet of bangin’ House releases. “Wicked Weekend” mixes filter heavy percussive monsters alongside soulless trancey numbers, but thankfully also features choice cuts in the form of Kerri Chandler’s cowbell and controlling synth driven “Bar A Thym” and DJ Technic’s frightening “Gabryelle”. “Klubb House 2″ is a collection of cold thumping big room House hitters and bad tempered Prog, whilst Electro House is an easy to devour Electro flexing outing. A highlight of the electrically charged CD is Jori Hulkkonen’s remix of Star You Star Me’s “A Place In My Heart”, where cheeky synths and a face pulling bass meet. “Moov House” is another tough effort, with notable numbers appearing in the shape of their own evil bass dominated “Sing (Dub)” and LAB Music’s fierce “Acid Test”. These comps are all very well for those into the tougher end of the House spectrum with some fine tracks being showcased, but lets hope there’s more soulful stuff on the way, too!


reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer from here are seven reviews (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

V/A – Love Dubs (Lovemonk)

Lovemonk have been fairly consistent of late, and this triplet of fine re-rubs isn’t going to do the label’s reputation any harm. John Arnold’s rhythmic broken dub of the Mojo Project’s “In My Life” sees dancing beats underpin smiley keys and agreeable synth work. Greg Gauthier & Tony L give the Soul Vigilantes’ “Shy” extra house bite, courtesy of breezy keys, old school clapped percussion and familiar bass work. Kiko Navarro’s ‘Koki Solutions Dub’ of the Mojo Project’s “Tell Me Why” is a powerful deeper House number, with bang bang bang beats, rising synths and keys that you can count on.

Opolopo – Theme From Hot Spot (Sick Trumpet)

This Liverpool based club night takes its first foray into the world of releasing records with a brill dancefloor bound 7″. “Theme From Hot Pot” is the housier of the two and an all round smile-athon, with grinning synths, beaming keys and incredulous strings. “Closed Circuit” watches optimistic keys, running percussion and wide-eyed strings link up.

Ernesto – Blame It On Your Melody (Exceptional)

Despite his recent relocation to Birmingham, Ernesto’s music still has an icy Scandinavian stare, alongside a wonderful electronic warmth. None of these mixes of “Blame It On Your Melody” top the ‘Prelude’ version, which was released on a 7″ a good while back, but Unai and Yukihiro Fukuotomi have done a good job. Yukihiro comes out on top, with a couple of jumping percussive versions, where gratifying keys and a weighty bass pack the requisite punch. Unai’s remix places a mean bass, hard hitting beats and meandering keys under those honest vocals. The album version is also included, where messed up keys, sad synths and a portly bass meet.

Alex Smoke – Lost In Sound (Soma)

Wow, Vector Lovers have really come up with the goods on this occasion. Their revision of Smoke’s “Lost In Sound” is a flurry of squealing keys, jacked up beats and fuzzy synths. Alex’s own minimal synth-driven ‘Casita Verde’ version is a bit dull by comparison.

Only Freak – Can’t Get Away (From Your Love) (Freerange)

Only Freak aka Spirit Catcher get on the discoey House tip with this outing for Freerange. A cover of a Carol Williams track from the early 80s, classy keys and squeezed synths dominate the original version. Solid Groove’s revision is a typically harder-nosed mix, with slamming beats, gloriously happy synths and a smile-inducing bassline. Also included is an overflowing synthathon entitled “Viper Vapour”.

Zoo Brazil – Wasp Not Wasp (Cartridge)

Zoo Brazil show the rest of the pack how to make an acidic revivalist cut with this excitable release on Cartridge. “Wasp Not Wasp” is the standout, courtesy of buzzing synths, running forward beats and a dependable bassline. “Face The Music” is a more subdued affair, with worried keys, smart beats and tripped out synth lines.

NoTenshun – Traffic EP (Chillifunk)

NoTenshun make another EP of their harder edged deeper grooves available to the vinyl buying public. “Zulu” is a sturdily beaten number with an evil bassline and mithering synths, whereas “About Nothin’” is a robotically keyed stormer. “Crush It Up” takes its strength from pacey beats, and “Ama-zone” is a fizzing synthed tribally percussed number.

The Blacknificent Seven – ‘Ere Comes Da Black (Dark Horizon)

Featuring respected artists such as Roots Manuva, Rodney P and Est’elle, the Blacknificent 7 is a rather impressive UK Hip Hop supergroup. “‘Ere Comes Da Black” sees the crew go in for a bit of self-promotion, over sturdy synths and stern beats. “Mrs. Onda’syde” tries to figure out the set-up of relationship, backed by saucy keys and hardy beats.

A Skills & Krafty Kuts – Freshtraxxx Sampler (Finger Lickin’)

A couple of cuts from Finger Lickin’s new showcase of party breaks and hop get the single outing. “Tricka Technology” as remixed by Ed Funk is stuttery vocalised and thumpingly beaten number, where groovin’ guitars run riot. The superior “Ain’t It Funky” gets retouched by the Fort Knox Five, with those vocals paying tribute to ‘funk’ over lifting guitars, squashed saxes and a murky bass. Dub versions are also included for those who can’t stomach the vocals.

Boston Rodriguez – Where’s The Party? (Little League)

An unashamed feel good party track, “Where’s The Party?” will seem a little childish for certain turntables. Thankfully, those who can’t stomach those stupid vocals should be appeased by the instrumental, where D&B style beats, Sex In the City style vibraphone keys and partying brass groove along nicely.


reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer from here are seven reviews (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

V/A – Late Night With King Britt (Swank)

The inimitable King Britt drops a full-on Housey selection, which contains many smoky string and fizzing synth laden cuts. Featuring a number of his own productions and remixes alongside other uber-deeep material, “Late Night” finds his highness on top form. Solu Music and Kimblee’s “Naturally” as remixed by Blaze searches for love, as those synths pull you closer and percussion taps along in the background. “Holding You” from Wahoo attempts to vocalise feelings of happiness, backed by resonating guitars, a clear bass and shrieking strings. Britt’s reinvention of Charmade Beat feat. Steve Spacek’s “U & I” gets analogue bass sparks and agitated synths to do the convincing. Breath-taking.

Ensemble Du Verre – Sing Me Something (Fante/SPV)

Cool off centre jazziness with a side helping of pointy electronics is the order of the day on this charming album from Ensemble Du Verre. Certain tracks are a little on the vacuous side, but “Sing Me Something” does see these musical electricians wiring up a new style of jazz-thinking electronic grooves. The vocals on “Poetry”, supplied by Ute Lorenzen, don’t make a hell of a lot of sense, but the torch like trumpet and bare bass provide the necessary musical content to make the track stand out. An agile bass gets a head start on “Fast”, as head in clouds keys, corrupted woodwind and an eye-catching double bass attempt to catch up. “What Ellington Says” places a warm-glow producing brass workout over displaced keys and Herbert style percussion. A thinking person’s future jazz.

NoTenshun – Traffic (Chillifunk)

Ploughing a tougher electronic furrow than the label’s previous output, “Traffic” is going shock a few people. Gone are the organically cultivated soft grooves, which have been replaced by synthetically created sounds. “Slow Starter” sees strings dream their lives away, backed by a smile-inducing bass and patient beats. “Amarante” takes its strength from a flamencoish guitar, whose acoustic beauty brings a much-needed brightness to the piece. “Ama-zone” sounds like it was conceived in the heart of the jungle, as rainforest soundbites float over cheery synths and a circling bass. Dark, yet still deep and subtly jazzified, “Traffic” represents the dawn of a new day for Chillifunk…

Ghorwane – Vana-Va-Ndota (Milan Records)

Cultured guitar work and jazzy niceness are both important on this pretty album from the Mozambique based Ghorwane group. Lurverly instrumentality carries along this album, which has both beamingly happy parts and also deeply melancholic moments. The title track contains melodic vocals, which work wonders alongside clean guitars, buoyant brass and steadfast percussion. “Xindzavane” lets eloquent piano keys speak out over rustic brass and a passionate guitar. “Tlhary” uses a calm guitar, serene vocals and relaxed drumming to create a peaceful track. Engaging.

Trio Exklusiv – International Standards (Klein)

What Patrick Pulsinger had on his mind when coming up with this album of stupid jazz, Kraftwerk inspired electronics and crackers Latin is anyone’s guess. Eschewing cold computers for eccentric live instrumentated material, “International Standards” features a few rather delectable grooveries and isn’t what you’d expect given Pulsinger’s electronic past. “Doors Open” sees pursed lipped brass crescendos, sonically modified beats and swish guitars stride into the room. “Slo-Mo” places joyous brass, a spiky bass and snaking along synths under the positive vocals supplied by understated soul god Terry Callier. “Let Fat In” floats expressive brass and clarinet conversation over slapping percussion and a feather light bass. Bizarre yet endearing!

The Islanders – Guarana Beach Club (S’Hort)

Hailing from the capital of horizontal dance releases, Ibizan producers Guillermo Morro and Ernesto Altes have created a luscious longplayer of lethargic afterparty gems. The beauty of the music means that it is possible to ignore the artificial feel of certain tracks, and just soak up the calming musical waves. “Large Lounge” sees stoned to the eyeballs Balearic keys attempt to navigate a path through blissful strings and shushing synths. The vocalist on “Regenerator” can’t speak properly, but thankfully wonderment inducing synths and slow moving percussion are able to convey the message. “Mixed Live” gets blinding synths, affable guitars and gooey keys to create the necessary ambience. This relaxation tool is as effective as a post-work drink or joint in helping you unwind after a busy day or night…

Deep Dish – George Is On (Thrive)

Long gone are the days when you could rely on this Washington twosome to come up with innovative and intelligent Deep House records. Today they are more at home making well produced, if a tad emotionless, guitarry and prog-minded House records, which seem to appease the mainstream, at the expense of Dish’s original fans. That said, Sharam and Dubfire show they’ve not lost their edge completely, with tracks like psychotic key laced “Swallow Me” and “Dub Shephard”, a foul-mouthed synther. The standout moment happens to be “Sergio’s Theme”, where a fragile acoustic guitar is placed across whispering synths and clear headed drumming. Intriguing, at best!


Bah Samba feat The Fatback Band Let The Drums Speak

Bah Samba’s recent double album 4 is chock-a-block of good songs and potential single releases. Julian Bendall, Alice Russell and the rest of Bah Samba already put their magic touch to Teena Marie’s Portuguese Love, which was the first single lifted from the album. Let The Drums Speak, the third single (btw Calma with Isabel Fructuoso was also relased as a 12″ single) is another cover but yet it’s not your average cover version since Bah Samba actually hooked up with Bill Curtis and Johnny Flippen from The Fatback Band, who originally recorded this song.
I set up an old Ludwig drum kit for Bill, they arrived, we manged to get Bill up the ladder, bearing in mind he’s in his 80’s! and he jammed this wicked Fatback groove for about 2 hours, we jammed downstairs with Johnny on Bass, Mark on Guitar and me on Rhodes, after that we chose the jam we liked and Bill and Johnny did a rap,” says Julian Bendall. “Later Dom (trumpet) turned up and played a similar line to ‘Let the drums Speak’ it was never our intention to do another cover on the album, it was just I had been listening to ‘Yum Yum’ all that week and asked Dom to come up with something on that vibe, the track was originally entitled ‘In a new element’ but with the horn line being too similar we agreed with Fatback’s publisher to go with ‘Let the drums speak’.
Phil Asher, who’ve worked with Bah Samba since their first release on Estereo (Reach Inside), gets involved on Let The Drums Speak as well. His Restless Soul Mix is a driving disco house version that relies on Alice Russell’s harmonies that will work well on the dancefloor. Unfortunately Phil’s version omits the ad-libs of the Fatback Band. Luckily Harvey Lindo includes these ad-libs on his 70s inspired soulful midtempo remix. And if you’ve missed the album 4 (shame on you, you’ve missed one of the albums of the year!) there’s also the great disco funk of the album version.

Tracklisting of Let The Drums Speak: 1. Phil Asher Restless Soul Mix/ 2. Harvey Lindo Edit/ 3. Album Version | released November 14th, 2005 BKO Productions

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